Issue - decisions

Bus Service Improvement Plan

21/10/2021 - Bus Service Improvement Plan

Councillor Jonathan Drean (Cabinet Member for Transport), Paul Barnard (Service Director for Strategic Planning and Infrastructure) and Rosemary Starr (Sustainable Transport Manager) introduced the Bus Service Improvement Plan


On 15 March 2021 the Government published the National Bus Strategy for England ‘Bus Back Better’


The Strategy sets out an ambitious vision to dramatically improve bus services across England (outside London) to first reverse the long term decline in the number of journeys made by bus and second encourage passengers back to the bus, post the Covid-19 pandemic. It is intended that the Strategy will deliver cheaper, more frequent and more reliable bus services for passengers.


The Strategy requires the establishment of a formal partnership arrangement, led by the City Council, as the Local Transport Authority (LTA), for all local bus services operated within the city boundary. All LTAs outside London are required to enter into a formal partnership arrangement with local bus operators. Entering into a formal partnership is necessary in order for LTAs and bus operators alike to be eligible for any future Government funding. The partnership arrangement could either be a franchise or an Enhanced Partnership2.


The City Council approved the development of an Enhanced Partnership with the city’s bus operators, and published a Notice of Intent3 on the 25th June 2021.


The National Bus Strategy also requires the City Council, as LTA, to lead the preparation of a Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) for submission to the Department for Transport (DfT) by the end of October 2021. The BSIP must set out what the Partnership will deliver in order to make buses easier, cheaper and more convenient to use. The final stage in the process is the publication of an Enhanced Partnership Plan and Scheme. This must be achieved by 31 March 2022.


Achievement of these deadlines is essential in order to have access to £3bn of discretionary funding for the delivery of the National Bus Strategy.


This report provides a summary of Plymouth’s Bus Service Improvement Plan.


Cabinet agreed to –



Notes the timescales for completion of the BSIP and the requirement to subsequently publish an Enhanced Partnership Plan and Scheme.



Endorses the ambitions of the BSIP and the aspiration to make Plymouth’s buses more frequent, more reliable, easier to understand and use, better co-ordinated and cheaper.



Endorses the thematic proposals of the BSIP as a comprehensive suite of measures which support the policies of the Plymouth Plan and the needs of Plymouth’s current and future bus users.



Endorses the emerging priorities of the BSIP



Delegates approval of the final BSIP to Cabinet Member for Transport